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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

A journalist (Christian Bale) is assigned a story about whatever happened to a famous 70s glam bi-sexual pop star (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who faked his own death on stage and then mysteriously vanished from public life. The journalist's own life history is tied to the star, who he emulated as a youth. As he interviews those who knew the pop star, he reflects on his own coming out. It takes a bit of chutzpah to use CITIZEN KANE as a template for one's own film but director Todd Haynes whose innovative films include SAFE, I'M NOT THERE and FAR FROM HEAVEN has never been one to shy away from audacity. Haynes uses the 1970s glam rock scene to take us like Alice into surreal Wonderland, where we're overwhelmed and heady with the assault to our senses, our equilibrium unsteady. It's one of those films which flopped, both critically and financially, when it opened but has since found a cult audience and a growing reputation. Haynes could have given the film a simpler structure to follow but there's more than story to this. The eye popping costumes by Sandy Powell received an Oscar nomination. With Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette, Eddie Izzard and Emily Woof.

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